We appreciate the opportunity today for a member of TASC’s staff, Rachel Sabella, to testify before the Youth Services Committee of the New York City Council. We urge Council members to stop the incremental dismantling of one of the best citywide after-school systems in the country, New York’s Out-of-School Time (OST) system. Currently 52,000 kids in elementary and middle schools (down from a peak of 85,000 in 2009) attend daily after-school programs that match their parents’ working hours and are proven to engage kids more deeply in learning. If current budget proposals hold, another 25,000 kids will lose access to their programs by the time school opens next September.
The Bloomberg administration has done groundbreaking work in increasing the quality and effectiveness of expanded learning opportunities, but how will kids benefit if they and their families lose access? This week we heard the great news that the New York City economy added more jobs in January than in any month in 23 years. At this moment when employment is recovering, shouldn’t we make it easier rather than harder for parents to cover the gap between the end of the school day and the end of the work day? Check out the graph on the newly launched website of the Campaign for Children to see how the trend lines are going.